Flat Roof Drainage and Leaks: It May Be Plumbing and NOT the Roof

General Roofing Systems Canada provides Flat Roof Repairs throughout Canada. Repairs are completed in the following cities: Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Below you will find a simple account of a service call inquiry. Oftentimes, there are multiple contracting parties involved in a roof repair. This includes plumbers, the roofers themselves, other construction services in the area, and obviously the stakeholders themselves.

In this case, a simple misunderstanding concerning the purpose of water testing culminated in repeated requests for service calls outside of the ongoing work we had been performing for the client. Finally, our client’s property manager provided us with the implements to deal with the problem. As suspected, it was the plumbing – not the roofing system itself – which was causing major leaks.

We have included a comprehensive explanation from our national project manager as well as a follow-up correspondence by a third-party plumbing contractor concerning this matter.

Water Source Needed to Test Drainage System

As you know, for about a year and a half, GRS has been requesting a water source at the building to be able to test your drains. On each occasion, we have been told that a water source is being to be made available. As well, our crews have been told that it is likely the water source has been covered up in construction, but that we may be able to use a neighbour’s water source until a proper solution could be found. Up until today, no water source has been offered.

The Reasons Drains Need to be Tested

a. The source of the leaks were previously at the drain system. We requested the drain assembly (the connection to a new drain and U-Flow, and the connection to the drain) be redone with a plumber – we would provide the roofing services and the plumber would provide the connection services. This was not done at that time. My understanding is that the plumber only cleared the drain system. So, we requested a water source so that we could test the drains/plumbing ourselves to eliminate them as the main issue, or conclude that they are the suspected cause of your leaks.

b. The plumbing system and assemblies are old. It is common for drainage during times of heavy rain (which is when your building is having issues) to back up and leak at the drain bowl assembly connection to the drain pipes. As the water rises and then meets the bowl assembly, if there is not a U-Flow expander and/or proper drain bowl, the water will then get between the pipe and the connection to the bowl. What occurs is the water that is backing up will then get into the roof assembly and begin to run along various areas and manifest themselves through the ceiling. At the time of your roof replacement, there was no work order for the plumbing and drainage to be modernized, and normally this is not an issue. This this does become one, it is typically solved with a quick water test and simple remediation work (such as bowl replacement, U-Flow backup expander installations, and/or repairs to the drain pipes).

Discussion with the Site Manager

Water testing only works when it is not raining and is intended to isolate the drainage system from the roof membrane that we replaced. This is the reason for the need of an external/outside water source. We test the drainage system with a hose, which allows us to isolate the drainage system on its own. If that test does not show that it is the drainage system, then we go on to retest the membrane. We also test various other penetrations, such as rooftop units and/or vents, pipe boots, etc. Finally, we move onto testing various other components of the building envelope, such as the connection of the roof to the wall and the flashing areas.

Your site manager also asked that an emergency be done (such as pumping water off the roof), to which I replied that we could, if requested, dispatch an emergency crew for that, but we would have to charge extra because we have requested on numerous occasions for the water test to be done to the drainage system, and that has not been done. The site manager did not seem to want the emergency service under those terms.

I should also note that on the other occasions that we did respond in this fashion, that we did not charge for the emergency service. We did this despite finding that it was a drainage problem by the plumbers at that time. Furthermore, I will also note that on each occasion we did recoat the roof and did not charge for that either.

The only reason we are now saying that we have no choice but to charge a service fee is because we have requested number times to have water access. Part of our servicing parameters included that should the water test not to be done, that we would charge a fee for the emergency service.

You also asked us about why water was pooling on the roof. I explained to the site manager that at the time of the roof replacement, an engineered sloped insulation package and rebuild of the building exterior (parapet wall construction, sheet metal, siding, etc.). We were only approved to go ahead with the roof membrane replacement only. He asked why that was so, and I said that it is an option and that not all (in fact, less than 50%) of the buildings we service have a sloped insulation package installed. I directed him to all the neighbouring buildings as examples of those that do not have such sloped systems.

Discussion with the Property Manager

I explained to the general property manager that we needed to test the various components of plumbing, membrane, units, vents, plumbing boots, and possibly the building envelope at the roof to wall connections. Finally, we have been promised an external water source to isolate the issue based on our tests.

Plumbing Contractor’s Follow-up with the Property Manager

August 21, 2015:

I was sent out to have a look at water leaking in the building. I found that the roof was full of water and it is what was pouring into the suites. The one drain was working, but very slowly. I called in the drain cleaners and went through it with them.

The snake was getting caught up on something, so I had them use the camera and we found there is something stuck in the piping. We traced it to the piping in the ceiling of a first floor room. We will need to return when the water is all gone and open the ceiling, remove the piping, and then get the cause of the blocking out. As it stands, the system is draining as much as it can with whatever is causing the blockage.

Also, the building has some piping up to the roof drains. These are not ran well and are back-graded for parts of the system. I have left it disconnected for the drain that has the problem.

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com.

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Metal Roof Restorations

General Roofing Systems Canada provides Roof Restorations throughout Canada. Roof Restorations are completed in the following cities: Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

A metal roof restoration is a less expensive alternative than having a roof replacement completed.

Roof Coating – Liquid Rubber Solutions

Leaking Metal Roof Systems

A metal roof on a residential project may or may not be installed on a high slope. If installed on a high slope, it is less likely to leak However, many industrial and commercial roof systems are low slope. If a metal roof is installed on a low slope, chances are leaks will occur.

Why does Metal Roofing Leak?

Metal roofing expands and contracts with changing weather conditions, which causes the roof fastener holes to get larger over time. This is especially true in our unpredictable Western Canadian climate. Expansion and contraction of the metal causes the seams to expand and contract which can cause leaking as the seams  become less crimped or locked over time. Ice damming and snow loads can also cause metal roofing to leak. Ice damming can even back up at the eave of a metal roof,  especially if there is a gutter system that is frozen solid. Ice damming can move roof vents or various roof openings enough to cause a leak. Snow loads can weigh down metal roofing so much that seams become more exposed. Caulking of roof vents and roof openings become brittle and crack over time which can also cause leaks.

SG1S1511
Metal Roofing – Ice Damming at Eave

Metal roofing will also trap moisture on the underside, causing condensation that will eventually result in a roof leak.

Metal roofing is a watershed product,  not to be mistaken as a waterproofing product. Waterproofing is a completely different discipline in roofing. Metal systems are inherently designed to be secure yet will eventually leak.

SG1S1524
Metal Roofing – Roof Ice Damming Leaks

Metal roofing is one of the best roofing systems you can purchase in the world. It will outlast most other roofing surfaces. However, there are some exceptions that will last longer, such as: slate roofing, rubber roofing, concrete tiles, synthetic tiles. Nonetheless, a metal roof is undeniably one of the longest lasting roofing materials in the world.

What separates a roof that lasts fifty years and a roof that lasts twenty years is the quality of roofing material, the metal roofer’s installation specifications, and proper maintenance of the roof over the years.

metal roof 7 (2)
Metal Roofing – Installation is Key

Quality metal roofing costs more than the less expensive versions.  A lower quality, less expensive metal roof may only last fifteen or twenty years. whereas a metal roof that is installed using a higher quality will last fifty years. In either instance, if the metal roof is installed poorly, a fifty year metal roof may only last a year.

A metal roof installation needs to be precise and needs to allow for the fact that it  is a watershed and not waterproofing material. By its nature, a metal roof  watersheds, therefore it is expected to eventually leak. Whether that leak will affect you is determined by a number of variables such as hidden fasteners that provide more protection than exposed fasteners, using locking panels, using a steep versus a low-slope system, and a premium roof underlay beneath the metal roofing material.

Edmonton, AB Rooftop Snow Removal
Metal Roof Maintenance

Replacement, Repair, or Restoration. What’s the Answer?

There are a number of ways to avoid the problem prior to needing to replace a metal roof. We won’t go in to those ways in this article, as this article is to assist those wanting to explore avenues of metal roof restoration, repair, or replacement.

General Roofing Systems will typically suggest a few answers to your metal roof leak problems:

Maintenance
Maintenance should be conducted on an annual basis. Caulking made for metal roofing is available and should be re-done every fall. Be sure gutters are kept clear during the winter. DO NOT let your gutters freeze up as this will cause problems with your metal roof. Also, snow loads are important; try your best to maintain a reasonable amount of snow on your roof. If possible, keep the snow off.

Repair
Repairs usually involve maintenance such as caulking, replacement of vents or some form of sheet metal fabrication for a detail on the metal roof. If the roof leak and subsequent repair isn’t focused to a specific issue, but is more of an intermittent leak issue, then you are likely best looking at a metal roof coating or a metal roof replacement.

100_0086
Roof Coating – Liquid Rubber Technology

Coating
Coatings were once looked at as a short term solution.

New coating technology is extremely successful, long lasting, consistent, and has finally solved the roof expansion and contraction problem.

Liquid rubber polyether roof coating technologies are solvent free, maintain 900% elongation, UV resistant, bond to almost any construction or substrate, liquid cold applied, elastomeric, great for green roof applications, 100% solids and will not shrink, they are compliant with all known environmental requirements, resistant to thermal shock and slumping at high temperatures.

The first benefit of coating a metal roof vs. replacing your roof: Metal roof repair, or coatings, are considered maintenance and as a result are a tax deduction.

The second benefit of metal roof coating in today’s market is that the new liquid rubber coatings are highly effective, even more so than most new metal roof systems. The new liquid rubber coatings are highly advanced (developed as a result of nanotechnology) and the elongation values are in the order of 900% and are UV resistant. The roof coatings move with the expansion and contraction of the metal roof and keeping it waterproof.

The third benefit of the new metal roof coatings is that a roof coating will cost you about 1/3 to 1/2 the price that a new roof replacement would.

The final benefit to coof coatings worth mentioning is that the new liquid rubber polyether technology last several years.  We have a ten year warranty with an option to extend to twenty years in some instances (requiring a maintenance coat at 10 years typically).

Until next time,

The Team at GRS

 

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com.

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Metal, Membranes, and Roof Shingles for Low-Slope Systems

General Roofing Systems Canada installs IKO shingles throughout Canada. Installations are completed in the following cities: Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Edmonton Flat Roofing Repair

When completing low slope re-roofing systems it is important to take into consideration the correct election of material that adheres to the local building codes and material manufacturer’s specifications.
Below we have provided a guideline for low slope shingles, roof membranes of flat roofs, and metal roofing.

Low Slope Roofing Shingles

Serious thought is required when you are considering re-roofing a roof that has a slope that is less than a 4/12 pitch. Malarkey Roofing

For roofing with a 3/12 pitch regular shingles can usually be installed with 2 ply 15 lb roofing felt paper as underlay ( Be sure to check with your specific building code and the shingle manufacturer).

The General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) specification for how to install roofing shingles is to never use felt paper. We prefer to use Ice & Water protection on eaves, valleys, and around chimney flashing.  In addition to Ice & Water,  we also use a  synthetic roof underlay such as titanium.

A roof that has a 2/12 – 3/12 slope is more tentative and the risk for leaks increases. Some shingle manufacturers such as IKO with the Cambridge shingle will warranty their shingles on a low slope roof for twelve years. Malarkey shingles will honour a 30 year warranty on low-slope roofing.

A roof that is 2/12 or less in slope should have a “flat roof” or traditional “low slope membrane” installed. We like to see any roof that is less than a 4/12 slope get a low slope membrane that is fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.

Other information:

IKO Shingles

IKO Low Slope Shingle Bulletin – Installation of Asphalt Shingles on Low Sloped Roofs

IKO Roofing – Applying Asphalt Shingles on Low Slopes (covers 3 tab shingles, eave protection, etc.)

Low Slope Roof Membranes (Flat Roofing)

General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) Edmonton Flat Roofers

Low slope membranes for flat roofing come in a few categories;

  1. Single Ply Membrane: Single ply membranes come in the form of EPDM (rubber), TPO (Thermal Plastic), or PVC (Poly Vinyl). Single membranes are either fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.
  2. Two Ply Membrane: The primary two ply membrane is the SBS Modified Bitumen that can be torched down or cold applied.

  3. Built up Roofing: Built up roofing is another way of describing multi-layer roofing. An example would be the traditional  roofs tops that are commonly referred to as tar and gravel roofs or flat-top tar roofs.

  4. New Built up Roofing: More recently, modern technologies have advanced the built up roof and newer built up flat roof systems. They now utilize environmentally friendly products and modifiers vs. the tar or bitumen that has been more commonly used in tar roof systems. The newer versions of built up roof systems are extremely tough and will outlast almost any other roof. They are VOC free, making them perfect sustainable offerings to low slope roof assemblies. Tough Roof is an example of the modern built up roof systems as is the GRS Liquid Rubber Built up Flat Roof (a four layer voc free engineered liquid rubber flat roof with 800% elasticity and contains environmentally friendly synthetic fabric between layers vs. traditional tar felt paper.

Low Slope Metal Roofing

Roof Coating, Industrial Roof, Metal Roof, Leduc II

Low slope metal roofing (steel roofing, roof cladding, standing seam metal roofing) has been used for decades. This is  primarily used in commercial and  industrial roof settings.

With residential buildings, metal roofing is more typically found on steeper  roofs. GRS installs several of metal roofing systems to Mountain villages such as Whistler, Squamish, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Fernie, etc.  More and more metal panel and metal shingle roof residential installations are growing,yet the greatest volume of metal work being completed is on industrial facilities.

An issue with this type of roofing is that there is no other form of roofing material that expands or contracts as much as the metal roofing does. The seams between the roof panels, the fasteners, roof openings at vents, chimneys, flashings, and skylights are consistently expanding and contracting . Due to this factor metal roofing systems are prone to leaks.
Another issue with the metal roofing systems is condensation.  Many roof leaks in homes or businesses are actually not leaky roofs, they in fact a pooling of water in the ceiling due to condensation.  It is important to deal with any condensation or leak issue before installing a new metal roof.
We are able to solve the problem of metal roof leaks by installing a premium roof membrane under the metal roof system. We use a premium caulking tape at the seams in addition to using hidden fasteners. Now one effective way to solve the potential of leaks or condensation issues is to torch a SBS modified membrane or spray liquid rubber before putting the metal roof on.

For a commercial roof and industrial metal roof that is leaking, typically we would coat the roof with liquid rubber. By doing this it helps to ensure that the roof  will be good for another 10 years or more. Trying to locate metal roof leaks and deal with them in an isolated way can be quite time consuming and unfortunately highly frustrating . For more information Click on the following link to go to our roof coating section of our website.

Until next time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

 

Roof Vents and Attic Ventilation: Problems and Solutions

General Roofing Systems Canada provides roof ventilation repairs to  throughout Canada.  Roof ventilation Repairs are completed in the following cities; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario

Roof Ventilation Changed for Proper Attic Air Flow (Condensation Problems)

This is the time of year that we receive a number of calls from homeowners regarding  leaking roof problems.

Some of the top reasons for leaking roof problems are:

  1. Chimney flashing is installed incorrectly and is leaking.
Roof Repair Roof Leak
Replacement of Flashing around the Chimney is done correctly using roof membrane (ice and water) and then proper flashing is installed to back and side of chimney
  1. Skylight flashing has leaks due to incorrect installation.
100_0709 - Copy
Skylight Repair and Replacement in Progress. Premium roof underlay membrane is installed around the skylight which keeps it from leaking.


3. Valleys on roof are leaking. Shingles in roof valleys are commonly done wrong.

100_0702 - Copy
Roof Valley being installed correctly with roof underlay. Roof flashing installed on top, and synthetic roof underlay to rest of roof.
  1. Attic condensation that causes moisture in the attic. The attic moisture manifests as “roof leaks” due to poor roof ventilation. Roof ventilation is not adequate at either the ridge of the roof (exhaust) or at the soffit area (intake).
Roof Sheeting Mold, Attic Mold, Condensation II
Attic Ventilation Problems Cause Condensation and Roof Rot, Mold, Energy Loss, and More

 

  1. Improper Installation of Roof Underlayment.
Re-Roofing, Shake to Asphalt, Coloured Metal Drip Edge - Eave Edge
Properly Installed Roof Underlay : The Ice and Water Shield is installed to roof deck at roof eave edge and synthetic premium underlay installed to rest of roof (complete roof area covered and no wood is left to show, roof tar felt is not used as it dries out and cracks and causes leaks)

 

  1. Improper Installation of Roof Vents and Penetrations
Ice and Water Membrane to Back and Sides of Roof Openings, Wall, Step
Above is an example of proper roof vent installation. This method can be used with any penetration at the roof deck. Roof vent has caulking under vent, high quality ice and water underlay is applied to both sides and to the back of vent which will not allow ice build up to enter under shingles to cause any roof leaks.
  1. Improper Installation of Roof Flashing at Wall (where roof meets a wall).

Shake Roofing, Shake Roof Repair Alberta, General Roofing Systems Canada (Alberta)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Roof Flashing at wall base on this home was not done correctly (non existent) on this cedar roof resulting in the home-owner experiencing leaks.

 

The home in the photos of this roof repair were experiencing leaks in there skylights. To resolve this issue, we changed the skylight flashing, which brought forth further attic condensation problems. The combination of the two problems resulted in the roof ventilation needing  to be repaired.

The steps to complete this repair are as follows:

Remove roof vents at peak of roof. 

  1. Remove IKO shingles around roof vents to expose roof underlay.
  2. Remove roof underlayment to roof deck (sheathing).
  3. Remove DuroFlo vent to expose roof attic space.
  4. Inspect exposed roof deck for damage due to attic moisture (condensation).
  5. Install backing to opening and fasten roof deck patch to holes.
  6. Install patch cut to fit each hole.
  7. Install new roof underlay.
  8. Install IKO shingles as needed.

Install 2 new Whirlybird turbine roof vents at peak:
1. Remove IKO shingles at location on roof.
2. Remove roof underlay to expose roof deck.
3. Inspect roof boards for condensation.
4. Cut hole in roof deck to install new vents
5. Attach whirley bird vents to roof deck over vent access.
6. Install new underlayment.
7. Install IKO shingles as needed

Roof Repair, Residence has Attic Condensation Problems

Roof Repair - Attic Ventilation - Whirley Birds

Attic Ventilation, Remove Duroflo Vents to Whirley
Attic Ventilation, Remove DuroFlo Vents and change to Whirlybird turbines
Shingle Roof Repair
New IKO Shingles installed
Roof Repair,
IKO Dual Black Shingles installed Over Vent Hole
Roof Repair - Attic Ventilation - Whirley Birds
Whirlybird Installation for Attic ventilation repair
Attic Vents - Whirley Bird
Attic Vents – Whirlybird
Roof Vents - Remove Duroflo Vents
Nearing job Completion

 

About Roof Ventilation:

Correct attic ventilation provides your roof with the correct amount of airflow to prevent moisture buildup. Moisture in the attic space causes roofing to rot and release condensation. Proper ventilation will help energy costs by regulating the temperature of your home.

Attic ventilation is important to reduce the buildup of heat in your attic which can cause ice dams, shingle decay, condensation, higher energy costs and even mould. Additional ventilation is often required in older homes to meet the BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan Building regulations. This is also required to meet  the shingle manufacturer warranty requirements.

Attic ventilation can be corrected:

The roof repair above shows us adding roof vent turbines (whirley birds) to increase air flow to the attic in this home. You can also install ridge vents or more conventional roof vents.

How to Calculate Proper Attic Ventilation:

There is no such thing as having too much attic ventilation.  Realistically you want your attic to be the same temperature as it is outside in the winter and in the summer you want  to be able to get the warm air out.

The primary focus when  ventilating an attic is to not actually bring down the attic temperature (of course this would be beneficial in summer when your house and attic are hot). The main reason for ventilating the attic is to eliminate the moisture in your attic space that causes roof leaks and a host of other problems such as; ice dams, rot, shingle warranty problems, paint peeling and mould. Improper venting causes your house to sweat and not breath right.

The following is how you would calculate the proper amount of ventilation required for an attic:

  1. Multiply the total square footage of your attic space by 144.
  2. Divide the total above by 2.
  3. Divide total above by by 300.
  4. What is called the “net free” area you now know. The net free square inch area required for intake ventilation (for example at soffit) and the exhaust ventilation (for example the vents at the ridge as in the photos above).
  5. Divide the “net free” area by the ‘”net free'” area the Ventilation Product Manufacturer provides on the box. This will be your calculation for how many roof vents you need to install for correct attic ventilation.

Attic Solution – Keep the Heat Under Control With Proper Attic Ventilation!!!

Until Next Time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario

Low Slope Shingle Conversion to Flat Roof Membrane

Re-Roofing? Converting Low Slope Shingles to Flat Roof Membrane Roofing on Your Home or Considering Converting a Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof?

General Roofing Systems Canada Re-roofs Low Slope Roofs throughout Canada. Our roofing services are available in Toronto, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler and points between.

Below you will find comments regarding various aspects of roofing conversions from our senior project manager.

One common challenge homeowners have when considering re-roofing a flat roof or a low slope roof on their home (we receive many inquiries about) are homes with a low slope pitch that currently have shingles on the roof and the homeowner is considering a conversion to a flat roof membrane when they re-roof instead of the shingles. Or, homeowners are considering converting a flat roof on their home to a pitched or sloped roof instead.

Low Slope Roofing Challenges

Low slope roofs on residential homes (in colder climates like most of Canada) can pose a significant challenge.

Vaulted Ceilings: Often these homes have vaulted or cathedral ceilings. The vault in the ceiling replaces the traditional steep pitch home attic space. The issue with this home design is that hot air from the inside of the house can more easily get to the underside of the roof sheathing. The problem with this is that the warm air causes snow on the roof to melt. Then when it cools down at night the melting snow turns in to ice and over time ice dams develop on the roof.

Attic / Roof Space Insulation: In these homes it is often the case that the insulation value is poor. Either as a result of moisture (roof leaks or condensation) or in many instances when the home was built very little insulation was placed in the roof cavity. Lack of insulation allows the hot air from in your home to get to the underside of the roof causing ice dams. It is critical to have proper insulation R values in your roof.

Ice Dams: The problem with ice dams is that they wreck roof membranes and roof shingles and cause leaks into your home. So basically what occurs is that the heat from in your home gets in to the roof assembly (sometimes the vapor barrier is non existent or faulty), gets past the vapor barrier, through a lack of insulation and heats the underside of the sheathing and ice dams build up. A steep slope roof has more opportunity to vent the hot air out of the attic because of the larger space available in the attic, the intake cold air at the soffits and the exhaust vents at the ridge (and the pitch is steep and taller which helps). Ice dams will work their way up the roof slope as freeze thaw continues. As the ice dams work their way up the slope the ice dams push up shingles and get under the shingles and melt as a result of the hot air from your home entering the roof cavity and this causes leaks in to the home. Low slope membranes are not as susceptible to this problem because the membrane systems are harder for ice to get under. If you stay with shingles vs. a low slope membrane you can also use Ice & Water membrane under shingles. A good drip edge at the eave edge may also help.

Ice & Water Membrane (for under shingles): Ice & Water membrane is a self-adhered membrane that should be installed in warm weather (commonly referred to as a peel and stick). With a low slope roof like a 3:12 you can get away with using Ice & Water on the whole roof and installing shingles over top. “Get away with” is a loose term I suppose – it isn’t guaranteed that just this step will solve your condensation or roof leak issues from ice damming. Your roof assembly and / or attic system is like the lung of your home. Just solving one of the many potential problems (such as installing Ice & Water) may or may not solve the problem. If your roof is a steeper pitch like 5:12 or more then I would only recommend Ice & Water at the eave area (about 44″), in valleys (under valley metal), and around penetrations etc. Our main website has a lot of information about these details at www.grscanadainc.com. Click on “steep slope roofing” and view the various article, links, etc.

Anyway, back to low slope roofing issues and Ice & Water membranes…

Ice & Water membrane is suggested because when the hot air from your home gets to the underside of the shingles and ice dams melt under your shingles the Ice & Water may keep the water from getting into your home. But it may not. At issue is that when one installs the shingles over the Ice & Water, the shingle nails are now penetrating the Ice & Water membrane. BE CAUTIOUS with claims by roofing salespeople that tell you this is not a problem because the Ice & Water or peel and stick will “self heal”. In other words, the claim is that when the nail penetrates the membrane that the membrane will seal around the nail – or self heal. Not all peel and stick membranes do this and you are relying on it actually occurring – there is no way to know if it did or did not seal around the nails because the shingles are now installed over top of the membrane.

Frost and Condensation: Frost will collect on the underside of your roof deck sheathing if hot air from your home gets to that area. When the frost melts it can appear as though you have a roof leak when water appears on the ceiling. Condensation can also make itself appear as a roof leak. As warm air enters the attic or roof assembly and has no where to go (your roof exhaust vents are not performing properly) then the condensation can turn in to leaks. This will typically manifest at walls, windows and doorways. Condensation can slowly ruin the complete structural components of any home. Leaks can be occurring over years inside walls and slowly destroying your home, not to mention the issues with mold and mildew.

Attic Ventilation: Attic ventilation is critical. Venting your attic or roof space (limited in vaulted or cathedral ceiling homes) is critical. If you do not get the warm air out of the attic or roof assembly in an efficient manner that heat will cause many problems (as above – ice dams, frost, and condensation that cause leaks).

Soffit: Also known as the cold air intake portion. The soffit area of your home is the breath in part of your roof assembly lung. The soffits are located under the roof overhang. Sometimes they are located at the wall or vertical part of the exterior of your home. This scenario (soffits at the wall) is common in “architecturally designed” homes that are looking for a certain street appeal. Anyway, intake soffits are critical. The cold air must enter the roof assembly and travel along the underside of the sheathing and in the process take the warm air from your home (that is entering the attic) out and be exhausted by way of a rooftop vent, whirlybird or ridge vent system.

Be sure the soffit intake air is not being hindered by attic insulation. Very often home owners that do not understand the principals of attic ventilation that do their own home renovations will put insulation over the intake vents of soffits. Be sure there is no insulation over the vent areas around the edges of your attic space.

Roof Vents: The exhaust portion of your attic or roof assembly. Roof exhaust ventilation is critical. Their are various guides for how much roof ventilation a home needs, but the problem with these guidelines is that every roof system and attic or roof assembly is different. The common guide is that for every 100 – 300 square feet of attic space you should have at least one square foot of rooftop ventilation (exhaust). We can help you design a roof vent exhaust plan to bring your probability of success as high as possible.

One quick side note about roof vents… I very often am witness to home-owners that get so frustrated trying to solve ice dam, ventilation, leaks, condensation and the like (especially with low slope roofs) that they end up listening to any snake oil or uneducated roofing salesman or roofer. And what occurs is that they end up with a combination of roof vents on their roof. DO NOT allow just anyone to start adding roof vents. A whirly bird installed near static vents on a roof will not work. It will cause the air to get sucked in to the roof attic and run immediately to the other vent and out – which does not help the cause to say the least.

Vapor Barrier: And finally we get to the vapor barrier. The problem with the vapor barrier is that finding gaps or holes in a vapor barrier can take time. Look for any penetrations through the vapor barrier. Inspect these areas closely. You may want to re-tape or caulk or seal in some way all penetration just to be sure they are air tight. If you have a low slope roof assembly this is near impossible because you can’t crawl in to the roof space typically.

Is there good news? I feel bad for homeowners that have these problems – they put their life savings into a home that in some cases becomes such an aggravation that much of their life can become consumed with the problem because in some instances the problem is literally destroying their home, the family peace, and their life long investment.

There is good news, but often it takes a lot of patience with the person or company that is helping you and it often takes significant investment.

My advice is to be sure you have an expert. An expert can take you through a logical process of elimination. In other words, the possible reasons for the problem are such… and the list is in order of priority… and at each step of remediation lets take a look at how the roof assembly now performs under different weather and seasons.

Our experts are often booked months in advance and I know that anyone else that I’ve met that is an expert at this is also booked well in advance normally. Don’t let that discourage you, book with an expert and take the time it takes to get it done right and save your investment money and peace of mind. And be very careful with quick fix salespeople in this category of work because you could be throwing good money after bad if you choose the wrong company or so-called expert.

Call or write us anytime… in this instance I would recommend you write us and email your situation to info@grscanadainc.com. The issue with just a phone call to our call center is that you will be put on a waiting list that could be for many months. But a letter can be tackled sometimes remotely by staff that have some extra time while in the office. Be sure to include when you purchased your home, the issues you are facing with your attic or roof, if the leaks or condensation issues are occurring only when it melts on a nice winter day or if issues are present when it is bitter cold in winter or even in summer. It really helps to get photos of your home from street view and rooftop view because we can often suggest solutions even before we attend for a rooftop and attic inspection.

Some considerations for low slope re-roof planning for your home:

Low Slope Roof Membranes

Today there are many more options than once available for home-owners considering flat roof or low slope roofing membranes for re-roofing. We can remove the shingles on your home and apply a number of different systems.

Homeowners call us with concerns over the cost of low slope or flat roof membranes (relative to shingles) and this becomes a serious consideration when planning for a residential re-roof project.

Low slope roofing has changed and many options are now available for re-roofing your home that are much less costly than the traditional low slope tar roofing or torch down roll roofing.

The other thing that home-owners often call about is taking a low slope or a flat roof and having it turned in to a pitched (or a high slope) roof.

Today, solutions are available for low slope residential roofs that don’t require the cost of traditional flat roofing or the expense to go from a flat roof to a pitched slope roof on a home.

Newer low slope roofing membranes are “single ply”. EPDM is a single ply low slope roofing membrane that has a 10 – 30 year membrane warranty (the membrane warranty is available for residential re-roofing as well as commercial re-roofing) and some flat roofers will tell you they expect the newer single ply roofing membranes to last 30 or 40 years. TPO is also a single ply low slope white roofing membrane. Also available is PVC – PVC is similar to TPO in that it is single ply and typically installed as white.

There are the older style systems being the torch down sbs modified bitumen roofing membrane (or roll roofing) and Tar and Gravel flat roofing (or BUR / built-up roofing).

All membrane systems listed above work on low slope re-roofing projects.

And finally, there are metal roof or steel roofing systems for low slope re-roofing and even shingles for slopes to about a 4/12 pitch. Some roofing contractors are applying low slope shingles to 3/12 but we consider it a tentative practice at 3:12.

Low Slope Residential Re-Roofing

EPDM Membrane: The residential low slope roof in the pictures of this post are of a residential low slope roof that we are re-roofing this week. The low slope shingles are being torn off and replaced or re-roofed and converted to an EPDM flat roof membrane. The EPDM roofing membrane system carries a 20 year manufacturer warranty.

Attic Insulation: Also in the re-roofing process, we are removing the sheathing from this home and an attic insulator is blowing in insulation. We are then re-sheeting the roof deck substrate and adding a low slope insulation board and finishing the roof assembly with EPDM low slope roofing.

Flashing: All the roof flashings are being replaced in the re-roofing process – the eave, gable, chimney etc will be replaced as will all roof penetrations. The two low slope skylights are being replaced.

Ventilation: The venting of this low slope re-roofing project will be redesigned and installed at the ridge or peak of the roof with a custom made ridge ventilation system that will have a curb framed in first and then the ridge vent along the ridge. This will allow for proper attic / roof space airflow and ventilation, it will keep snow from covering the ridge vent, as well the custom framed curb for the vent will keep snow from entering the roof system.

You can follow this residential re-roof project by checking back regularly on our roofing blog as we will post pictures showing the process of re-roofing from a low slope shingle roof to a low slope flat roofing membrane.

Until next time,

The Roofers at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Emergency Roof Repair Situations

General Roofing Systems Canada provides roof repairs throughout Canada. Roof Repairs are completed in the following cities; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

100_0110
Emergency Roofing Repairs

Wind Warnings and Torrential RainFall has been causing roof failures in British Columbia, while meanwhile in Southern Alberta high Winds are Blowing Shingles, Shakes, and Tiles off Roofs Again.

This week has been tough on roof systems from the West Coast all the way to Saskatchewan. Our call center has been over-whelmed with wind related roofing repairs calls along the West Coast including Victoria, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Vancouver North Shore, and in the Fraser Valley. While in Southern Alberta such areas like Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, and even into Calgary have been experiencing wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.

The unusual high winds have been tearing shingles off roofs and causing general havoc with a variety of roofs types. We have received calls with complaints of skylights blowing off or leaking, roof vents, flashing, and even roof hatches needing repair.

With the heavy rain on the West Coast, this has caused flat roofs to fail, this particularly has applied to those that have drainage issues or drains that are plugged. With the cycles of having warm air thawing to only freeze again due to the Chinooks in areas like Calgary, AB, this has been resulted in our 24 Hour Toll Free Emergency Roof Repair line to receive several repair calls.

We are finding that Roofs with improper attic ventilation are having condensation issues to areas even as far north as Edmonton and flat roofs are requiring more maintenance to clear drains that are freezing over with ice.

Solutions for Roof Repairs, Attic Condensation, and Roof Drainage Issues

There are some solutions we can offer to help with the various problems roofs have this time of year. However If you cannot solve the repair or maintenance issue by yourself, call our 24 hour emergency roof repair toll free number at 1.877.497.3528 and schedule a repair person to attend.

Flat Roof Membranes
Repair Crew Fixing Flat Roof Connected to an Industrial Metal Roof

Flat Roof Drainage Problems: Flat roofs unfortunately do require some regular maintenance, especially in high winds and freeze-thaw cycles.

Roof Drainage: The roof drains are prone to clog from leaves, tree branches, and with the ice and snow melting and freezing on the roof. Drainage problems on flat roofs can also be compounded by an inadequate slope of the roof. Nonetheless, a spring and fall maintenance of the roof is key to ensuring the roof bears well during bad weather. Click here to see our  Flat Roof Maintenance check list.

Roof Inspection: Extreme winds, heavy rain-fall, and snow and ice melting should trigger an inspections to be completed. It is preferable that this is completed during the storms to ensure our technician’s ability to see if the roof drains are clear.

Roof Slope Problems: With improperly sloped flat roof systems, there are solutions to mitigate these issues. An improper roof slope can be examined with our technician at the time of inspection or while we are performing maintenance to your roof.

Condensation in Attic Spaces

Roof Sheeting Mold, Attic Mold, Condensation II
Condensation in Attic Space

Sloped or Pitched Roof Attic Condensation Problems Attic condensation repairs or remediation tend to be a more involved process requiring a number of steps.

Solving Attic Condensation

Your attic require proper ventilation. You need to check the intake air typically at the roof soffits to be sure that there is enough air coming in to your attic space. Be sure to check that insulation is not covering the air from entering your attic by following the air flow along the roof sheathing to where you come to the ridge or peak of the roof.

Check the exhaust vents (typically by each square foot or along the ridge) to be sure they are not plugged with snow and see if there are enough roof vents. You will need about 1 square foot of roof venting per 100 – 300 square feet of attic. A calculation commonly used by our roofers for attic / roof ventilation is 1:250. If the air vents exhausting the intake air is appropriate then you need to check the vapor barrier of the attic. It cannot be compromised and be letting warm air in.

Warm air rises through the attic into the roof sheathing. The snow on the roof then melts and creates ice dams. The ice dams then back up under shingles, shakes, and tiles causing leaks in to attics and then ultimately in to your house through the ceiling. If none of these problems can be found in your attic, it is best for you to then call the experts.

Shingles Torn off in winds

Wind Blows Shingles off Improperly Installed Shingle Roof in Calgary
Shingles Torn off in Winds

High Wind damage and Roof Repairs to Shingles, Tiles, and Shakes Repairing Damaged Roofs: Ultimately, after the installation of shingles, tiles, or shakes are complete and the winds begin to increase, you can now face blow-off problems. The best we can do is repair the windblown damaged roof.

How to Shingle a Roof: Prior to having your roof replaced, it is a good idea to know the specifications and the proper way to shingle a roof to ensure your roofing contractor is in check at time a roof replacement is required. Our website has a series on How to Shingle a Roof that explains the process of shingling for areas with high winds and how to avoid costly repairs due to wind damage.

Roof Underlay: Beyond the actual installation principles when replacing your shingles, shakes, or tiles there is the issue of the roof underlay. If the proper roof underlay is used and is installed correctly, then one does not have a concern in regards to shingles, shakes, or tiles being blown off. The roof underlay or membrane will keep the roof water-tight with-out the shingles so no leaks occur.

Shingles for High Winds: Finally, there are roofing shingles available that are designed to withstand high winds. Shingles like the Malarkey Legacy have high wind ratings of up to 170KM per HR which gives areas like the West Coast, North Shore of Vancouver, Calgary, Lethbridge etc. some advantage over the winds that damage roofs every year.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your roof, our office is always able to provide over the phone advice, set up inspections or arrange for a complete repair.

Until Next Time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Roof Replacement Problems

General Roofing Systems Canada provides roof replacements throughout Canada. Roof replacements are completed in the following cities: Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Below is an article describing the troubles that can arise with any and all roofing situations should you have with work completed improperly.
We know that every trade has its problems. Poor installations, normal deficiencies that occur, and then unprofessional workers. Unfortunately, the flat roofing trade is no exception to such occurrences.
The new home in this flat roof inspection report completed by our roofers yesterday is a victim of the exact problems mentioned above. The home in the below pictures is quite new and  was architecturally designed. However, the roof was installed poorly (2 Ply SBS Modified Bitumen) resulting in leakage. We suspect this flat roof has been leaking every time it rains or snows since it was first built.
As a result of this poor installation, the homeowners will now have to face extra costs in order to replace it all together.

Initial Inquiry:

We are looking for a replacement quote. needs repairs for torch on flat roof, client requires  the roof replacement completed within 2 weeks. Highest section of house is leaking and flat roof installed incorrectly.  Flat roof seams aren’t sealed.

Field Report, July 27 2011:

The upper smaller flat roof (SBS Modified Bitumen) on this home is completely past the point of return and a roof replacement is required . All the roof membrane seams are lifting and there is no bleed out at the membrane seams. All termination points along perimeter of the flat roof are not torched down properly. All intersections are lifting and there is no slope of roof toward scuppers. The upper roof needs to be replaced completely and should be ripped down to the deck.  It also requires a cricket (slope towards roof scuppers).

The Lower canopy roof (Modified SBS Torch On) over the main entrance of the home is in the same state as the top roof.  The roof is not torched properly, it also slopes down toward house instead of away from.  There is only one roof scupper at the high point of the roof corner which is not draining. The drainage on this roof system is very poor. The lower roof needs another scupper and or a drain in the North corner, this also needs to slope away from the house. I recommend another rip and a full roof replacement to this section also. In order to replace the roof systems we will need to take all cap and detail metal off  as it is tied into the stucco!

Flat Roof Replacement – Pictures of Flat Roof

 

Flat Roof
Cap Flashing

Flat Roof Houses

Flat Roof Metal

Flat Roof Needs to Be Replaced

Flat Roof Inspection

Flat Roof Repair

Flat Roof Replacement

Flat Roof

Flat Roof

Flat Roofing Repairs

Residential Flat Roofing

Until next time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.